Six Stages of the Mind

One gets absorbed in bliss and profound peace when one is meditating. Another important benefit of yoga is that it brings about transformation in one’s day-to-day acts, behaviour, manners, attitude and one’s whole life. One becomes a changed person. This fact will be clear to us if we understand how actions, outlook and mood or state of mind depend on what thought the mind is occupied with. The following example will make it clear.
If a person has seen a dog bite a man, whenever he comes across a stray dog in the street the memory of the dog biting a man crops up in his mind. This consciousness influences his feelings and state of mind so that if he was previously normal he becomes nervous or fearful. This, in turn, gives rise to thoughts of caution, fear or aversion. This third kind of thoughts is called vritti or ‘mode of mind’. Such a vritti shows that the man’s mind has become tainted, coloured or toned in a particular way. This, in turn, brings about a change in his outlook. All this takes place in a split second. It ultimately ends in the man either getting a stick to beat the dog or running away in fear and taking shelter somewhere. Either of these actions creates an impact, impression or sanskãr in the mind. The next time he faces such a situation, this sanskãr, unless transformed, will become the springboard for his reaction. Even when dormant, sanskãrs determine one’s personality, and sometimes they may be manifested in the form of dreams.
This sequence of mental processes, from consciousness to action, shows that to transform actions or behaviour, the consciousness has to be changed first. In order to change the outlook and state of mind also one has to change one’s consciousness. Since a yogi changes his consciousness through meditation, he is able to bring about a change in his habits and behaviour and become a holy and happy person.